BUSINESS

UNDERSTANDING LDAR.

What is LDAR

Leak Detection and Repair which is also known by its acronym LDAR, are programs that were put into place by the Environmental Protection Agency to curb the unintended and dangerous leak emissions from the oil, chemical, and natural gas facilities or we can call them the VCOs (Volatile organic compounds) mostly due to unplanned maintenance.

What is unplanned maintenance?

This involves maintenance activities that happens unexpectedly. It occurs when there is no formal plan in place to carry out a repair, inspection or replacement before it is required. It is commonly caused by machinery failure that was unexpected.

These emissions were being emitted by leaking equipment such as pumps, valves, and connectors. With the LDAR programs put into place, the LDAR managers and technicians are given certain strict procedures that they should work in compliance with by the EPA. Especially the petroleum and chemical industries have the strictest procedures that govern them, and this makes total sense because they are the two main industries that produce the most toxins; liquids and gases which are also the most dangerous.

WHY DOES THE EPA CLOSELY MONITOR THE LDAR?

EPA closely regulates the LDAR program and this is because of two main reasons. The first reason being a lot of leak emissions were taking place. Secondly, the leaking happening was mainly toxic to the environment and harmful. According to the EPA, they estimated that most of the leakage was being emitted from equipment leaks. In preference of numbers, they were able to see that the emission being emitted by the equipment leaks exceeded the emissions from the storage vessels, wastewater and vents.

It was also seen that the ozone layer, which is very useful to us as humans since it prevents the harmful sun’s ultraviolet rays from reaching us, was slowly getting destroyed. This was caused because of the release of Volatile Organic Compounds that were getting rampant and were contributing to the formation of ground-level ozone. The formation of ground-level ozone caused an aggravation of dangerous respiratory diseases such as Asthma, both in children and adults. It was also noted that the Volatile Hazardous Air Pollutants caused worse health effects such as cancer and birth defects.

LEAK DEFINITION.

  According to the LDAR program, the word leak carries a different but almost similar meaning to the one we know, the difference is that their leakage is associated with most gas and oil pollutants. For example, if there is a leakage of a gas or liquid coming from a pipe joint that is considered a leak. According to LDAR, a leak means, a gas or liquid that is coming out of a joint pipe when it ought not to. In some cases, not only the amount might make it become a leak, but there are also leak definitions such as Regulation, the type of component, or even the interval of monitoring. LDAR programs have established some sensitive instruments that can detect up to the slightest gas concentrations.

COMMON SOURCES OF LEAKS.

With the efficient research that has been conducted by the EPA, the most common sources where leak emissions occur include:

  • Valves
  • Connectors
  • Pumps
  • Sampling connections
  • Open-ended line.

But the most common sources are the valves, connectors, and pumps and this is mostly because of poor operating optimal conditions that cause wear and tear of the seals.

LDAR Program Best Practices.

For the success of the LDAR program, the following best practices are implemented:

  • Training should be offered to the LDAR management personnel to give them the technical knowledge required on how to successfully run the program and educate each member on their required responsibilities.
  • A well-detailed LDAR program includes all the procedures required for identifying leakage, and procedures for repairs provide the facility with their wide leakage goal and also help the company keep track and record their equipment.
  • For successful running of the program, ensuring that sufficient oversight procedures are being carried out. This helps to increase the accountability of the management personnel conducting the monitoring.
  • For leaking equipment such as valves, connectors, and pumps it is important to use an internal leak definition which will help to monitor and prevent leakage.

Benefits of the LDAR program,

  • With the LDAR program successfully put in place, it leads to greater and positive benefits for the company. Those benefits include:
  • Maximizes and ensures the safety and health of the workers as they perform their job since it aids prevent unintended emissions of toxins.
  • It saves you on costs and the company gains profit. With the LDAR program put into place, there will be prevention of unnecessary leakage that usually happens and leads the company to incur a loss.
  • With a well carefully executed LDAR program that follows the compliance guidelines, the company will be able to avoid paying the EPA fines
  • The LDAR program helps the technicians run oversight procedures which help with maintaining accountability of the personnel and also ensures improvement of the equipment, leading to them lasting longer.

THE LDAR COMPONENTS.

  • Identification of the components.

Under the LDAR program, each component is identified and assigned a specific ID. Those components are tracked by the use of a barcoding system which is integrated with good CMMS software.

  • Identification of leaks.

The personnel team should be able to well communicate and clearly understand the parameters that define a leak. With this, they will be able to quickly identify the leaks easily.

  • Monitoring of the components.

Proper running of oversight procedures is put in place to ensure that each component is well monitored to check for any leakage signs and prevent it as soon as possible. Also, the checking frequency of the intervals should be accurate and set in accordance.

  • Repairing of the components.

Any found leaking component ought to be immediately repaired within a scheduled specific time. According to the set regulations and procedures repairs ought to be done within the first days, and if not done a properly documented explanation should be written down.

  • Keeping and Documentation records.

The incorporation of good CMMS software helps to document and keep track of records of the schedule of the activities being carried out.

In conclusion, with the LDAR program put in place, unintended venting out of toxins is curbed, hence making our environment a better and healthier place to live in.